Key Research Interests

My research interests are in the evolutionary and ecological determinants of biodiversity distribution at different spatial scales, from local to global, and how understanding of pattern and process can inform conservation policy. Environmental gradients of interest include energy availability, climatic stability, habitat complexity and heterogeneity. Human impacts I focus on include local-scale habitat disturbance and fragmentation through to large-scale influences of human population density and climate change. In addition to studying the distribution of species numbers, I am interested in using alternative biodiversity metrics such as functional diversity to better understand the functional contributions of species to communities. I work on a variety of taxa including insects and birds. My research spans local field studies as well as analyses of landscape-scale and macroecological data. While current projects are mainly large-scale and using existing data, future plans include field-based studies aimed at understanding species environmental tolerances, local drivers of community functional structure, and the influence of these and other factors on occupancy of species geographical ranges.

Current Research Projects

  • Ecological and evolutionary mechanisms for biodiversity distribution
  • Anthropogenic environmental gradients and conservation biology
  • Functional diversity and community assembly


Life in our research group 

Research undertaken under my supervision is focused on understanding the environmental determinants of biodiversity distribution at different spatial scales. We are especially interested in using species level ecological and morphological trait data to explore the functional significance of changes in biodiversity distribution across space and time. We currently work with colleagues at the British Trust for Ornithology on the functional ecology of wintering wading bird communities across UK estuaries, and are looking to establish further such collaborative projects with conservation organisations. At continental and global scales we use available vertebrate species distributional range map data, including that of the Avian Diversity Hotspots Consortium, and high-resolution environmental datasets. Analytical tools we use include GIS and spatial statistical methods, including methods to account for spatial autocorrelation. The group is part of a dynamic research community at UEA including the Organisms and Environment research theme within School of Biological Sciences (http://www.uea.ac.uk/bio/bioresearch/eeb) and the Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation (CEEC) which brings together ecologists and conservation biologists from School of Biological Sciences and School of Environmental Sciences.

PhD Positions

Click here for current PhD opportunities in Biological Sciences. But feel free to email me to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding.

Postdocs & Fellows 

I am always happy to discuss possibilities for post-doctoral research projects, collaborations and funding applications.

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